Winter is on the way, be prepared

As I See It by John Appleton

Recent media reports warning us the so called ‘flu’ season will soon be here should get us thinking about what we might do to reduce the likelihood of catching the flu.

The common cold can make anyone feel really miserable for a week or more and while both colds and flu are both caused by a virus, influenza is a significantly more serious condition which for some elderly and infirmed people can be life threatening.

As the years pass, our once robust immune system can become less able to resist infections and thus it’s really important that we do our utmost to ensure that we can fight back if the often unavoidable invaders get through.

First on my list is to put some focus on the diet. Daily consumption of highly processed carbohydrates devoid of any real nutritional value and often loaded with sugar will do little to ‘shore up’ already weakened defences.  All humans require ‘real’ food every day. If anything you are eating doesn’t look as though it was once alive don’t eat it.  Avoid the central aisles in the supermarket. Processed foods are made so they can sit on shelves for months without deteriorating. Even milk is processed to the point where it has a shelf life way in excess of what it was years ago. Fresh fruits and vegetables which we know are really good for us are so often overlooked in favour of easier and cheaper options.

I have previously written about a wonderful winter immune booster; Bone Broth. This is a really easy way to have health inducing and enjoyable meals at any time of year but particularly during the winter season. Bone Broth is great for all members of the family young and not so young.  I get all my ingredients from Joyce at IE Produce. All you need in terms of hardware is a slow cooker and they are not expensive to buy.

Try as we might it is not easy to get optimal levels of nutrients from our foods.  Plants can only uptake what is in the soil and more and more now our foods are grown in depleted soils.  

Three key nutrients are on my list as a must when it comes to preparing for winter.  

Vitamin D is very important and we should all ensure that we maintain an optimal level. During the summer we are told to avoid the sun so we arrive at the end of summer often with a much lower than acceptable level. Optimal vitamin D is approx 120 nmols/L.  Very few of us would be close to that level.

Vitamin C is a key nutrient that all humans need every day. Animals make vitamin C daily, particularly in response to stress. When we are stressed our immune system is compromised and we are not able to respond by making any vitamin C. All vitamin C in whatever form is good. Don’t wait until you are ill before you start taking it. I take 4,000 mgs daily.  Cats and dogs make around 3,500 mgs daily.  When we are ill our need for vitamin C can increase very significantly. If I were to feel a cold coming on I would increase my vitamin C to around 10,000 mgs daily.

Zinc is a very important mineral for the immune system and our soils have very low levels of zinc. Supplementation is the only sure way to achieve optimal zinc in our diet. Up to 20 mgs daily may be required.  In addition to modulating the immune system zinc also assists a protein called human cytokine interferon alpha that is responsible for inhibiting the replication of viruses within the body.

If you are travelling overseas consider wearing a surgical mask on the aircraft. Airborne droplets are forever present during a flight and a mask may help you to arrive in good shape ready for your holiday or business trip.

John Appleton 09 489 9362


Issue 86 April 2018